Game giving notice on 40 stores as part of strategy to reduce its rents

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Game says it is in the process of handing in its notice on 40 stores around the UK as it looks to renegotiate its rents down.

So far the retailer, which was bought by Sports Direct International in June, has served notice on 27 sites, from Mansfield, Canterbury and Watford to Derby, Lakeside and Camarthen. It says it intends to follow suit with the remaining 13 sites in the near future.

However, it appears that the stores will not necessarily close and that the move is part of its negotiations with landlords including Intu and New River. Indeed, Game says it hopes not to have to move out of the sites, with the job losses that would result.

“We are working closely with landlords throughout the UK to ensure we do not have to vacate the 40 locations which could lead to a number of job losses,” said a Game spokesperson.

“However, we are facing a challenging retail market and Game, with its extensive retail footprint, needs to restructure, and landlords need to work with us in setting realistic, fair rents.”

This is not the first time companies owned by Sports Direct International, since renamed Frasers Group, have looked to reduce their rents. House of Fraser, bought out of administration in 2018, has both closed stores and renegotiated the rents of others. Frasers Group owner Mike Ashley  appeared before a House of Commons committee in December 2018 and told MPs that cheaper rents, business rates and taxing businesses that make more than 20% of their turnover online was the key to saving the high street. 

Game currently operates 540 stores in the UK and Spain, while also selling online and operating Belong gaming arenas both in its own stores and those of other Frasers Group retail businesses.

Image: InternetRetailing Media/Paul Skeldon

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